Last week an incident at our Thunderbird Hall brought shame upon our community. KDC Health was hosting a workshop when two members of our Nation got into a fight outside. Pepper spray was used and then the two ran into the hall. Their actions contaminated the building, forcing its evacuation, the cancellation of the workshop dinner, and a decision to cancel the second day of the workshop as a precaution to ensure the safety of participants.
One Elder was hospitalized as a result of being exposed to the pepper spray. All the food prepared for the dinner had to be thrown out and our staff had to work late into the night to clean the building, including washing all the walls.
Workshop participants had come from all over the North Island. This incident was not only a worry and an inconvenience to them but it was a poor reflection on our Nation as the hosts to all these visitors. Certainly the behaviour of the Band members responsible does not reflect mayaxala, the respect that we have traditionally been taught to extend to others.
Further, this incident is not isolated. Our community has experienced a variety of crimes over the past year, including theft, violence, illegal drug dealing, and vandalism.
Our Council does not take any of this lightly.
First of all, we apologize on behalf of the Nation to KDC Health and to the workshop participants and the caterers for the disappointment, the waste, the worry, and the inconvenience they experienced due to this incident and the resulting cancellation of the second day of the workshop.
Secondly, we want members to know that Council will be establishing a Safety Committee to advise us on short and long-term actions we can take to ensure incidents like this – and other behaviours that threaten the safety and security of our community – do not happen again. These measures could include security patrols, surveillance technology, banishment laws, culturally-based restorative justice, and culturally-based addiction treatment programs.
If you would like to be on the Safety Committee or would like to nominate someone to be a member, please contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (250-287-8838), or note sent or dropped off to the Band Office with the phrase “Safety Committee” in the subject line.
Views and ideas from the membership at large will be sought once we have the Safety Committee established.
Wei Wai Kum First Nation Band Council Members